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The suspensions of the terms provided by Cura Italia Decree

Publications FITAC

Among the measures in economic support of businesses and families approved by the Cura Italia Decree (D.L. of 17/03/2020 n.18) to deal with the pandemic emergency Coronavirus, those relating to the suspension of obligations and tax payments as well as the postponement of payment deadlines for collection acts are undoubtedly important.

In detail, art. 62 of the Cura Italia Decree provides for a general suspension of all tax obligations whose original deadline was set between March 8 and May 31, 2020. These obligations are extended to 30 June 2020, without the application of sanctions.

Suspension of obligations

Specifically, the fulfilments covered by art. 62 are those relating to the submission of the annual VAT return (due on 30 April), the submission of the recapitulative statements (so-called Intra), the so-called "esterometro" and the periodic VAT settlements for the first quarter of 2020.

The suspension, on closer inspection, is only partial: in fact, the rule in question does not include requirements such as single certifications (expiring on March 31) and all communications related to the 730 precompiled including, for example, communications for the use of the so-called ecobonus and those relating to medical and veterinary expenses.

Payment terms

With regard to the terms of payment of taxes, Article 62 also provides, for businesses and the self-employed, in the period from 8 to 31 March, the stop of payments of social security and welfare contributions, withholding taxes to be applied on income from self-employment and similar activities and VAT.

These payments must be made, without penalty, by 31 May 2020 (read 1 June, since 31 May is a Sunday), or in instalments (for a maximum of 5 monthly instalments) from next May.

Who can benefit from the suspension of payment deadlines?

Companies and professionals who have not exceeded 2 million euros in revenues or compensation in 2019, as well as companies and professionals with a tax domicile in the so-called Zone Rosse, can benefit from this suspension (as expressly identified in paragraph 3 of art. 62: provinces of Bergamo, Cremona, Lodi and Piacenza) regardless of the total recorded revenues or compensation received in the previous tax period.

The suspension of the terms: what consequences?

The rule in question should certainly be recognized as not burdening companies and professionals with tax obligations and payments at a time as complicated as the one we are facing.

However, it cannot fail to worry about the fact that the payments and fulfilments now suspended will aggravate the period of June, the month in which other tax "commitments" are routinely dealt with, thus risking that the above measures will have a serious impact on the financial capacity of Italian taxpayers.

In addition to what has just been stated, the Decree has further provided for

  • the suspension of payments of the loads entrusted to the collection agent, and
  • the suspension of all outstanding tax proceedings.

In this regard, Article 68 laconically provides that payments deriving from payment slips issued by collection agents as well as notices of assessment, falling due in the period between 8 March and 31 May, "must be made in a single instalment within the month following the end of the suspension period". These payments must be made no later than 30 June 2020.

However, with the FAQ made available last March 20 by the Revenue Collection Agency, it has been clarified that the payment of the payment slips can still be made in instalments at the taxpayer's request.

Tax proceedings

With regard to tax proceedings, on the other hand, Article 83 of the Decree provides that the procedural deadlines (including, therefore, those for bringing appeals at first instance) are suspended from 9 March to 15 April, resuming from 16 April 2020.

The different time frame envisaged for payments compared to the activation of the tax proceedings has quite a few consequences.

Indeed, from a first reading of the rules under examination, the payment of the amounts requested by the provisionally enforceable acts would appear to be suspended until 31 May while the deadline for lodging the appeal would start again from 16 April. The discrepancy between the two rules has prompted the Financial Administration to intervene to clarify their scope.

In fact, on 20 March last, the Revenue Agency issued Circular No. 5/E/2020 in which it specified that executive assessments are acts containing an order to pay the amount stated in the act within the deadline for lodging an appeal against the same act, after which, within the following 30 days, the charge is entrusted to the agent for the collection of the relevant amounts.

Well, according to the approach indicated by the Revenue Agency, only the provision under Article 83 is applicable to enforcement assessments, both with regard to the payment of the sums contained therein and with regard to the lodging of an appeal against them, in view of the coincidence of the two time-limits expressly provided for by law.

The tax authorities therefore expressly rule out the possibility that Article 68 may be applied to such acts: at the basis of that approach is that the latter provision must be applied exclusively following the entrustment of the act to the recovery agent as it is classified as 'suspension of the time-limits for payment of the loads entrusted to the recovery agent'.

In the light of the above, the suspension referred to in Article 68 would fall within the scope of the suspension, but not only within the scope of secondary impoactive acts.

In fact, the third paragraph of such article provides for the deferment after 31 May 2020 both of the payment term originally provided for 28 February 2020 of the so-called scrapping ter and of the term of 31 March 2020 relating to the facilitated definition of the so-called balance and cancellation.

With regard to the ter scrapping, about the instalment due in May, in the FAQ mentioned above, the Revenue Collection Agency confirmed the regular payment since the Decree does not provide for any deferment of this deadline.

Therefore, the taxpayer shall regularly pay the instalment by the 31st of May in order not to lose the benefits deriving from the scrapping.

Fidinam Italia

Fidinam Italia is available for companies to support them in this delicate phase. Our consultants are gladly at your disposal to provide you with professional assistance or even just exchange an opinion in the decision to request the various measures. Please contact us for advice through the form below.

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